Case #957

DATE: August 8, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. J.A.(“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): June 6, 2018
Panel Members:
Mr. Douglas Harrison, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Louis Florence, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Daniel Lazzam, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, Barristers
Ms. Nisha Panchal, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Officer, Office of the Vice­ Principal and Dean, University of Toronto Scarborough
Ms. Sana Kawar, Manager, Transcript Centre, University of Toronto
In Attendance:
Ms. Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, IT Support, Office of the Governing Council
Not in Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division - s. B.i.3(a) – forging or falsifying an academic record – forged transcript – no prior academic misconduct – student not present – notice provided – recommendation of expulsion, suspension of up to five years pending expulsion, and a report to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld
The Student was charged with one charge of forging or falsifying an academic record contrary to s.B.i.3(a) of the Code, or in the alternative one charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described contrary to s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to a transcript that had been submitted in support of the Student’s application to York University. The Panel heard evidence from the Manager of the Transcript Centre at the University, as well as affidavit evidence from the administrator responsible for admissions at York University. York contacted the University to authenticate the transcript that the Student had submitted in support of her application, and the University’s administrator noted that the number of credits and the grades reported on the document submitted by the Student were not the grades the Student received at the University. The Panel found that the Student guilty of forging an academic record contrary to s.B.i.3(a) of the Code. The University withdrew the alternative charge.
The Student did not attend the hearing. The Panel found that adequate notice of the hearing had been provided to the Student pursuant to sections 6 and 7 of the Ontario Statutory Powers Procedure Act (the "Act") and Rule 17 of the Tribunal's Rules of Practice and Procedure (the "Rules"), which provide that a Notice of Hearing may be served on a student by various means, including by sending a copy of the document by courier to the student's mailing address in ROSI or by emailing a copy of the document to the student's email address in ROSI. The University sent two courier packages to the Student’s address, one of which was returned, as well as a number of emails to the email addresses provided by the Student on ROSI which had not bounced back. The hearing proceeded in the Student’s absence, with the Panel deeming the Student to deny the charges against her.
The University requested: (1) that the Student's degree be suspended for a period of up to five years pending expulsion; (2) that the Tribunal recommend that the Student be expelled from the University; (3) that a corresponding notation be put on the Student’s transcript; and (4) that the case be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld. In determining the appropriateness of the penalty as proposed, the Panel referred to the Mr. C. [Case No. 1976/77-3; November 5, 1976] factors: (a) the character of the person charged; (b) the likelihood of a repetition of the offence; (c) the nature of the offence committed; (d) any extenuating circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence; (e) the detriment to the University occasioned by the offence; and (f) the need to deter others from committing a similar offence. Without the Student attending the hearing, there was no evidence of remorse or any mitigating circumstances to consider. The Student had no prior offences, but the forgery of a document was a very serious offence - an attempt to defraud another academic institution, one which undermines the credibility of the University and its students and alumni (University of Toronto v. R. W (Case# 502, April 18, 2008) at para. 16; University of Toronto v. N.R. (Case# 714, October 11, 2013, at paras. 22-23). The Panel found the penalty proposed by the University to be in line with precedent, particularly as the Student had not admitted guilt or acknowledged wrongdoing. The Panel ordered that: (1) the Student be suspended for a period of up to five years pending expulsion; (2) a recommendation that the Student be expelled; and (3) that the case be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld.